Members of the Waitangi Tribunal

Waitangi Tribunal members

The Waitangi Tribunal has up to 20 members. They are appointed by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Minister for Māori Development. Members come from all walks of life and are appointed for their expertise in the matters that are likely to come before them. About half the members are Māori and half are Pākehā.

The chairperson of the Waitangi Tribunal is Chief Judge Wilson Isaac of the Māori Land Court. The deputy chairperson of the Waitangi Tribunal is Deputy Judge Patrick Savage of the Māori Land Court. Other judges of the Māori Land Court, while not members of the Waitangi Tribunal, can be appointed as a presiding officer for a Tribunal panel.

A panel of three to seven members is appointed to carry out an inquiry. Each Tribunal panel has to have at least one Māori member.

Current Tribunal members:

Past members still serving on current inquiry panels:

Chairperson and deputy chairperson

Chief Judge Wilson Isaac

Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Porou

Chief Judge Wilson Isaac was appointed as chairperson of the Waitangi Tribunal in September 2009. Educated at Saint Pauls Collegiate, Hamilton, and at Otago University, Chief Judge Isaac spent 17 years at Burnard Bull and Company, Gisborne, where he developed an extensive practice in Māori land law and family law. He was appointed to the Māori Land Court in 1994, became deputy chief judge of the court in 1999 and chief judge in August 2009. He is the resident judge for the Tairāwhiti and Takitimu districts. He presided over the Tribunal’s Mohaka ki Ahuriri, northern South Island and National Park hearings and is currently presiding over the freshwater and veterans (kaupapa) inquiries.

Judge Patrick Savage

Whānau a Ruataupare

Judge Patrick Savage is the Deputy Chairperson of the Waitangi Tribunal. After acting as the Crown Solicitor for the Bay of Plenty he was appointed a judge of the Māori Land Court in 1994 and largely sat in Rotorua. Having reached the statutory retirement age in January 2016 he was immediately reappointed as an Acting Judge. He has presided over the Kiwifruit Export, Radio Spectrum, Taranaki Dairying and Te Urewera District claims. He is currently presiding over the Māori Reoffending claim which is about to commence hearings. He is the Chief Justice of Niue and a Judge of the High Court in the Cook Islands.

Other Māori Land Court judges

Other judges of the Māori Land Court can be appointed as presiding officers for particular inquiries. They become Tribunal members while in that role.

Find out more about Māori Land Court judges(external link)

Current members

Dr Robyn Anderson

Dr Robyn Anderson completed her doctorate at the University of Toronto, where she worked for a number of years before returning to New Zealand in 1991. In 1992, she joined the staff of the Crown–Congress Joint Working Party and prepared historical evidence underpinning the return of railways land to Wellington Māori. She undertook research projects for the Waitangi Tribunal and for claimants from the Hauraki, Kaipara, and Whanganui districts. From 2000 to 2003, Dr Anderson was the first history concept leader at Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand, where she led research and exhibition development for history and Pacific cultures. Dr Anderson was appointed to the Tribunal in 2004.

Dr Angela Ballara  

Dr Angela Ballara is one of New Zealand’s foremost academic authorities on Māori customary history. Her books include Taua: ‘Musket Wars', ‘Land Wars' or Tikanga? – Warfare in Māori Society in the Early Nineteenth Century (2003), Iwi: The Dynamics of Māori Tribal Organisation, c1769–c1945 (1998), and Proud to be White? A Study of Racial Prejudice in New Zealand (1986). Dr Ballara was a member of the team responsible for producing the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography and Nga Tangata Taumata Rau. She had particular responsibility for the Māori side to this project. Dr Ballara was first appointed to the Waitangi Tribunal in 2004.

David Cochrane

David Cochrane is a Special Counsel at the national law firm Simpson Grierson, specialising in public and commercial law. He has more than 40 years’ experience as a lawyer in central government and private practice. His experience extends to law drafting here, including legislation implementing the Māori fisheries settlement in 2004, and legislation for Fiji, Vanuatu, Kiribati, and Samoa. He had extensive involvement in the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011 and the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014. He is a member of the Commonwealth Association of Legislative Counsel and the External Committee of the Legislation Design Advisory Committee. He was a member of the New Zealand Law Society’s Law Reform Committee (2005–2015) and the Legislation Advisory Committee until its abolition in 2015. He was appointed to the Tribunal in 2014.

Ron Crosby

Ron Crosby spent 30 years as a court lawyer in the full range of litigation work, even including appearing in the Privy Council. His particular involvement in later years was in the resource management field. He has acted for Te Tau Ihu iwi and was involved in the Tribunal's Te Tau Ihu inquiry. Mr Crosby is a hearings commissioner under the Resource Management Act 1991. He has written several books on New Zealand history, including The Musket Wars: A History of Inter-Iwi Conflict, 1806–1845 (1999), Gilbert Mair – Te Kooti's Nemesis (2004), NZSAS: The First Fifty Years (2011), and Kupapa: The Bitter Legacy of Māori Alliances with the Crown (2015). Mr Crosby was appointed to the Tribunal in 2011.

Dr Aroha Harris

Te Rarawa, Ngāpuhi

Dr Aroha Harris lectures in history at the University of Auckland, where her projects reflect her interest in Māori and iwi histories of Māori policy and community development in the 20th century. Dr Harris has undertaken historical and social research for government departments, the Waitangi Tribunal, private organisations, and iwi. She continues to provide research advice to Te Rūnanga o Te Rarawa. Dr Harris is a founding member of Te Pouhere Kōrero, the national organisation of Maori historians, and the editor of their journal of the same name. She wrote Hīkoi: Forty Years of Maori Protest (2004), and co-authored Tangata Whenua (2014), a multi award-winning history of Māori. Dr Harris was appointed to the Tribunal in 2008.

Professor Rawinia Higgins 

Ngāi Tūhoe

Professor Rawinia Higgins is Professor and Head of School of Te Kawa a Māui (Māori Studies) and Assistant Vice Chancellor Māori Research at Victoria University.  She has published extensively on issues relating to Māori language and culture and serves on a number of boards relating to her work, including Te Māngai Pāho, Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori and Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga Centre of Research Excellence. Professor Higgins was appointed to the Tribunal in 2013.


Professor Ahorangi Derek Lardelli ONZM

Ngāti Porou, Rongowhakaata

Professor Derek Lardelli works and lectures nationally and internationally, most recently completing a residency and solo show at Notre Dame University, followed by a cultural exchange and exhibition in Vancouver and Terrace BC.  He researches tribal histories and often uses elements of these in art works or kapa haka compositions. Arguably his best-known composition is the All Black haka ’Kapa o Pango’. Professor Lardelli serves on several boards including Toi Māori Aotearoa, New Zealand Arts Foundation, Tairāwhiti Cultural Development Trust, and Te Papa Tongarewa Taonga Repatriation Committee, and was previously a commissioner for UNESCO. As chairperson for Te Uhi a Mataora Tā  Moko Arts collective, he has been heavily involved in the retention and development of the rituals, karakia and oral histories associated with tā moko. Professor Lardelli lives in Gisborne and is pouwhirinaki and principal lecturer at Toihoukura, School of Māori Arts & Design at the EIT Tairāwhiti campus. He was appointed to the Tribunal in 2015.

Professor Sir Hirini Moko Mead DCNZM

Ngāti Awa

Professor Sir Sidney (Hirini) Moko Mead was the founding professor of Māori at Victoria University of Wellington and created the first department of Māori studies in the country. He was responsible for building the first university-based marae on a mainstream campus – Te Herenga Waka Marae at Wellington. After retiring from Victoria University, he established a tribal university, Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiarangi, at Whakatane among his people of Ngāti Awa. Sir Hirini was the chief negotiator for the Ngāti Awa claims, settled in March 2005. He has written many books, including Tikanga Māori: Living by Maori Values (2003). He and his wife, June, live in Wellington and have three daughters and 10 mokopuna. He was appointed to the Waitangi Tribunal in 2003.

Basil Morrison CNZM JP

Originally a dairy farmer at Hikutaia (where his family still farm), Basil Morrison has served in local government since January 1971. He was chairperson of the Ohinemuri County Council from 1983 until 1989, when he became inaugural mayor of the Hauraki District Council. Mr Morrison retired from the mayoralty in 2004. He served on the Waikato Regional Council from 2004 to 2007, and was president of Local Government New Zealand from 2000 until 2008. Currently, Mr Morrison chairs the Local Government Superannuation Board, is a Director of Civic Assurance and Civic Property Pool and is the Honorary Consul of Uganda in New Zealand.  Mr Morrison is an independent hearing commissioner under the Resource Management Act 1991 for the Auckland Council and the Thames Coromandel District Council.  Mr Morrison was appointed to the Tribunal in 2008.

Lady Tureiti Moxon

Ngāti Pāhauwera, Ngāti Kahungunu, Kai Tahu

Lady Tureiti Moxon comes from a legal background and is a Chartered Fellow of the Institute of Directors. She is currently the Managing Director of Te Kohao Health, a health, education, social and justice service provider in Hamilton providing services to the wider Waikato region. Lady Tureiti was part of the Ngāti Pāhauwera negotiating team who settled their historical Treaty claims with the Crown in 2010. She currently serves as a trustee on the Ngāti Pāhauwera Development Trust and chairs the Maanaki Grants Committee. Further to this Lady Tureiti also serves as an executive member of the National Urban Maori Authority, as a trustee of the Hauraki Primary Health Organisation, Te Runanga o Kirikiriroa (Urban Maori Authority), Waikato DHB Iwi Māori Council and is a member of the Social Security Appeals Authority. She was appointed to the Tribunal in 2014.

Dr Hauata Palmer

Ngāi Te Rangi

Dr Hauata Palmer is a well-respected kaumātua from Ngāi Te Rangi. He holds an honorary Doctorate in Philosophy. Dr Palmer worked for the Department of Māori Affairs for several years before returning home to become chairperson of Ngāi Te Rangi Iwi Rūnanga. Dr Palmer held that role for 11 years, leading into his iwi’s Treaty settlements. He has been on judging panels for reo awards for Māori radio and Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori, and a member of the Kaunihera Kaumatua for Māori television. He remains a keen advocate for te reo Māori. Dr Palmer was appointed to the Tribunal in 2015.

Dr Ann Parsonson

Dr Ann Parsonson is a senior New Zealand historian. She lectured for many years in history at the University of Canterbury and is currently Adjunct Senior Fellow in the School of Humanities and Creative Arts (History) at Canterbury. She has been a research associate at the Centre for Māori Studies and Research, University of Waikato, and Senior Research Fellow at the Waikato Endowed College, Hopuhopu. Dr Parsonson has worked with Ngāi Tahu, Ngā Iwi o Taranaki, and Waikato iwi in the preparation of their Treaty claims, providing major historical reports. Her publications are on New Zealand history, Māori history, and Treaty history. Dr Parsonson was appointed to the Tribunal in 2001, and has been Historian member on a number of major district historical inquiries.

Dr Grant Phillipson

Dr Grant Phillipson's professional involvement with the Waitangi Tribunal began in 1993 as a commissioned researcher. In 1995, he was appointed research manager and, two years later, chief historian. He held that role until his appointment to the Tribunal in 2011. Dr Phillipson has written numerous research and historical reports, commissioned by the Waitangi Tribunal, the New Zealand Māori Congress–Crown Joint Working Party, and the Crown Forestry Rental Trust. As chief historian, Dr Phillipson was responsible for supervising the Tribunal's commissioned research programme and providing research and report writing advice to numerous Tribunal panels. Dr Phillipson has published academic papers on questions relating to the church in nineteenth century New Zealand, Treaty history, the Waitangi Tribunal, and Māori land.

Dr Thomas Roa

Ngāti Maniapoto, Waikato Tainui

Tania Simpson

Tainui, Ngāpuhi, Ngāi Tahu

Tania Simpson is chief executive officer of Māori development company Kōwhai Consulting. She is a director of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, AgResearch, and Tainui Group Holdings, and Trustee of Maniapoto FM and Tui Trust. She holds a Master Mātauranga Māori from Te Wānanga o Raukawa. Ms Simpson has held senior policy roles in Government, is an accredited fellow with the Institute of Directors, and has been awarded Order of the Taniwha 2nd class by King Tūheitia. She was appointed to the Tribunal in 2008.

Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith

Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Porou

Dr Monty Soutar

Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Awa

Dr Monty Soutar is a guardian of the Alexander Turnbull Library and a member of the National Archives Council. He has significant experience in historical research and vast knowledge in dealing with Māori Land Court records. He has worked widely with iwi and Māori communities. His most recent publication is Ngā Tamatoa: He Toto Heke (2014). It is a te reo Māori translation of Nga Tamatoa: The Price of Citizenship (2008), about C Company of the 28th (Māori) Battalion. Dr Soutar was appointed to the Waitangi Tribunal in 2002.

Professor Pou Temara

Ngāi Tūhoe

Professor Pou Temara is professor of reo and tikanga at the University of Waikato. He is a recognised authority on Māori customary practice and whaikōrero, having taught at Victoria University as a senior lecturer and at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi as associate professor and as head of the faculty of Mātauranga Māori. He is a director of Te Panekiretanga o te Reo, the Institute of Excellence in the Māori Language, where he teaches and researches whaikōrero, karanga, and tikanga. As a member of the Tūhoe Waikaremoana Māori Trust Board, Professor Temara made several submissions during the Tribunal’s Te Urewera hearings. He has experience in dispute resolutions, mediating between the iwi of Taranaki during their claims to the Tribunal. Professor Temara is the chairperson of Te Hui Ahurei a Tūhoe and the Repatriation Advisory Panel to Te Papa and has written widely on issues currently affecting Māori. Professor Temara was appointed to the Tribunal in 2008.

William (Bill) Wilson

Bill Wilson has extensive experience in public and private law. He was a Queen’s Council from 1996 to 2007 and a Court of Appeal judge from 2007 before being appointed to the Supreme Court in 2008. He resigned in 2010 to practise as an arbitrator, mediator, and legal adviser. He served on the Waitangi Tribunal from 1986 to 1995 and was appointed again in 2016.

Past members still serving on current inquiry panels

John Baird

John Baird has been managing director of several major consumer product businesses and a non executive director of a number of public and private companies. He holds a MA from Oxford University (where he was a Rhodes scholar) and has a BA in Maori Studies from Auckland University. Mr Baird was appointed to the Tribunal in 1999.

Tim Castle

Tim Castle is in private practice as a barrister. He graduated with a bachelor of laws from Victoria University in 1973. Mr Castle was counsel for the New Zealand fishing industry between 1987 and 1992, and following the 1992 settlement of Māori commercial fishing claims he was retained as legal counsel for Te Ohu Kaimoana (the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission). He was chairperson of New Zealand's statutory tribunal with jurisdiction in fishing quota appeals from 1996 to 2005. Mr Castle has assisted both iwi and the Crown in Treaty settlement negotiations. In 2014 and 2015 he was appointed by iwi representative leaders to undertake a comprehensive independent statutory review of the commercial governance and management structures for the iwi stake in Māori fisheries, with a view to necessary changes (now endorsed by iwi) to those arrangements for the future. He is the first Australasian member of the International Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland, was New Zealand representative on the International Cricket Council's Corruption Commission and Appeals Commission, and is a member of the New Zealand Sports Tribunal. He was first vice president and chairperson and board member of the New Zealand Olympic Committee from 1994 – 2000 and a board member of the New Zealand Sports Foundation. Currently Mr Castle is a board member of Drug Free Sport New Zealand, and chairs the Pacific Games Tribunal.

The Honourable Sir Douglas Kidd KNZM

The Honourable Sir Douglas Lorimer Kidd was educated at Ohau School, Horowhenua College, and Victoria University, where he graduated with an LLB in 1964. In the period 1960–64 he served in 22 Battery, Royal New Zealand Artillery, Territorial Force. After being admitted to the Bar as a barrister and solicitor, he joined the Blenheim law firm of Wisheart, Macnab and Partners in 1964 and practised as a partner until 1979. He was elected to the Marlborough Catchment and Regional Water Board in 1978 and appointed by the government to the National Water and Soil Conservation Authority in 1976. He resigned both positions on entering Parliament as the member for Marlborough in 1978. In 1990, Sir Douglas became Minister of State-Owned Enterprises, Minister of Fisheries, and Associate Minister of Finance, and he also chaired the Cabinet Expenditure Control Committee. In 1991, he was made Minister of Māori Affairs, retaining the Fisheries portfolio. He was appointed to the Fisheries, Energy, and Labour portfolios, was the chairperson of the Expenditure Control and Revenue Committee following the 1993 general election, and from 1995 served on the ACC portfolio. During most of his parliamentary career he was associated with the Territorial Force in his area, his final appointment being as Honorary Colonel of the Canterbury Nelson Marlborough Regiment in the period 1997–2003. He was made Speaker in 1996 and became a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in June 2000, redesignated Knight Companion in  August 2009. Sir Douglas was appointed to the Tribunal in 2004.

Kihi Ngatai QSM

Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Ranginui

Kihi Ngatai is a respected kaumatua with extensive community involvement throughout the Tauranga area. Mr Ngatai has expert knowledge of te reo and tikanga Māori, especially in regard to Tauranga whakapapa, mōteatea, and waiata. He runs a busy orchard and has served on the Bay of Plenty Conservation Board and as a kaumatua adviser for numerous Tauranga organisations, including Mount Maunganui College, Tauranga Girls’ College, and CCS Bay of Plenty. Mr Ngatai was appointed to the Tribunal in 2008.

Emeritus Professor Sir Tamati Reedy KNZM

Ngāti Porou

Sir Tamati Reedy is an educationalist, academic, and former top public servant. He holds a PhD in linguistics. Sir Tamati was chief executive and Secretary of the Department of Māori Affairs from 1983 to 1989 and was awarded the 1990 New Zealand Medal for public service. In 1996 he became foundation dean of the School of Māori and Pacific Development at Waikato University and was made Emeritus Professor in 2009. Sir Tamati was knighted in 2011. He continues his cultural and educational interest with Ngāti Porou Iwi Development. His business interests include developing the mānuka honey industry in Aotearoa. He was appointed to the Tribunal in 2010.

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